I had lived in Cardiff for two years before anyone mentioned Splott Beach. Its discreet entrance, barely one metre across, is nestled within a lay-by on Rover Way; continuing along the same road, you’ll find the surrounding industrial estate spearheaded by the looming figure of the steelworks. I first visited out of pure curiosity but went on to photograph the area over the following three months. During this time, I explored the beach and the relationship between nature, industry and the nearby community. I was constantly moved and surprised. There was solitude in the rubbled shore, warmth in those I met, a tragedy in nature’s seemingly unfulfilled potential and, often, an indescribable feeling that things weren’t quite as they should be. Within the same day, the landscape could present kindness, poetry, normality and dystopia. My urge to photograph Splott Beach and its surroundings was not bound by the need to convey a linear narrative but was, instead, an attempt to capture the feeling of the place. Whether I was studying a scene through my ground glass or speculating about a local horror with new friends, I spent my days in a world that seemed to fall somewhere between fiction and reality.

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